In this video, Kelly talks about a US study that tracked 30,000 adults for eight years. It found that there was a 43% increased risk of dying for those who experienced stress, but that this was only true for those who believed stress to be harmful. The participants who were stressed but didn't think stress was harmful had no increased risk of dying at all.
I've been programmed to see stress as the enemy. But now I have to get my head around the news that if I see stress in a positive way, it will be of no detriment to my health. Stress - something I've interpreted as the most insidious, poisonous, ageing thing I could put my body through - doesn't have to kill me (something I previously saw as an inevitability).
Kelly also explains that stress makes you social. Oxytocin - the 'cuddle hormone' - is released alongside adrenaline when your body responds to stress. It encourages you to talk to others, notice when those around you need help, and protects the heart from the effects of stress. Instead of thinking it's harmful, we need think of it as our body preparing and allowing us to cope with challenges.
I don't know about you but I get stressed about being stressed - which sounds ridiculous, I know. I have a very strong reaction to stress, so I know that changing my perception of what it's doing to my body could potentially do wonderful things. However, after years of being told how unhealthy something is, believing the opposite won't be easy - even if my life depends on it. Don't worry, I'll let you know as soon as I hear the news that chocolate is healthy and exercise isn't.